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Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Let the EWG Seafood Calculator Determine the Best Seafood for You

circling school of fish

Most people know the health benefits from regularly including fish and other seafood in their diets; they provide us with the essential, long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. A third, short-chain form of Omega-3 is found in several plant seeds and nuts, but the forms found in seafood are proven to have more effective health benefits. On the other hand, there are opposite reports of the health risks associated with eating seafood due to an increase of toxic mercury levels in the world’s oceans. In fact, a recent study concluded that in “ocean waters shallower than about 100 meters… have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution.” Emissions from coal fired power plants, smelting, cement manufacturing and certain mining activities are only some of the industries contributing to a unnatural amount of airborne mercury, which is eventually deposited in water bodies around the world, infecting marine life. So while the Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are essential to our health, harmful levels of mercury could accompany them. Luckily, the cost – benefit analysis between these two traits in different species of fish has been spelled out in a quick and pleasing “seafood calculator” from Environmental Working Group. (more…)

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Natural Remedies for Mole Removal

Moles usually make an appearance early in life, but can continue to grow and change over time. They can either occur individually or in small clusters anywhere on the skin. Moles result from several skin cells growing in a cluster rather than being spread out. The close nature of the cells means the pigment of each is in close proximity, resulting in their dark color. There are some natural treatments that may help. Here are just a few of them: (Note it can take several weeks, possibly up to two months to see results so be patient and consistent with your chosen methods.)

apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a really popular natural remedy for a variety of skin issues because of its acidic nature, which can help ‘burn’ off moles and other skin growths. Apple cider vinegar can be quite strong, and if you have sensitive skin, it may be a good idea to dilute it a bit with water before applying to the skin. Put some on a cotton ball and apply to the mole a few times a day. If you are concerned about the odor, have no fear. The smell completely disappears once the vinegar evaporates.

Garlic is so much more than a tasty addition to food; it has a variety of properties that give it many useful health applications. It is a popular internal remedy for enhancing the immune system and purifying the blood. As far as external use, it contains enyzmes that help break down the clusters of skin cells that cause growths such as moles, warts and skin tags. It can also lighten the pigmentation of moles. Cut open a clove of garlic and rub the juice on the skin two to three times a day.

Iodine is most commonly used as an internal natural remedy to regulate a variety of hormones, namely the ones of the thyroid. But, it also a popular treatment for moles. When used topically, it penetrates the deeper layers of the mole, effectively ‘dissolving’ it over time.

If you are interested in getting  rid of those skin moles using homeopathy, some of the most popular treatments include Calendula officinalis 12C, Phytolacca decandra 12C, Thuja occidentalis 12C. These ingredients are usually combined with essential oils that are good for the skin, and lesion removal specifically. When going this route, make sure you are using products that are manufactured in accordance with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS.) This ensures effective formulations with high-quality ingredients.

Fig Stem Juice
Fig is probably best known as an internal remedy for constipation, but the stem juice in particular is commonly used as a topical treatment for various types of skin issues, from moles to infections. You need to take some stems and blend them to get the juice. Apply it to the mole three to four times a day.

Pineapple Juice
Pineapple juice is rich in enzyme that help break down skin cells, making it a great treatment for moles. Juice some fresh pineapples and apply it to a cotton ball and put on the skin twice a day. Not only will you have a great remedy for moles, but a nice, healthy, delicious drink!
Dandelion Stem Juice
Dandelion is a popular ingredient in products used for blood purifying, liver cleansing and overall detox, but also has applications for topical treatments as well. It is a very popular remedy for moles and other skin growths because many people find it works relatively quickly compared to other treatments. Take a dandelion leaf or flower and squeeze the stem—a milky liquid will come out and you can apply this directly to the mole. Let it dry. Do this three to four times daily. If you have an allergy to marigolds, chrysanthemums, daisies or other plants in this family, or to ragweed, you may be allergic to dandelion so use with caution.

Getting rid of moles naturally is possible, but you have to be patient. The bigger the mole, the longer it will take. Just keep using your treatments, and know you may have to experiment with different remedies.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

A Green Spa Experience to Remember


Finding myself in San Francisco for a conference, I decided to arrive a day early and explore a spa experience in Freestone which is about 65 miles outside of the city. The thought of “dropping out” for the day to “drop in” on myself was very appealing.

The Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary is a green and sustainable property. The owner, Michael Stusser is a leader in the sustainable movement. It was 25 years ago that he made a commitment to creating a green spa – one that resonates with nature. A founding member of the Green Spa Network, Michael is forward thinking and envisions that spas will be both the wellness and spiritual centers of the future.

tea garden at duskI entered the small building and was met by the intoxicating scent of essential oils. The staff was delightful and Jordan offered to take me on a tour of the property. Towering bamboo hugged a wooden gate that when opened took my breath away. The thought came to mind, “Debra, you are not in Kansas anymore.” I was transported to an extraordinary place, one that bespeaks transformation. The Japanese garden, native plantings, waterfalls, fountain, rock gardens and stream were designed to embrace individuals as they reflect and decompress.

After my tour I was escorted to a creek-side Pagoda and it was there that I received an aromatherapy massage and scalp treatment. Thanks to Consuelo, I was now uber-relaxed. My delicious vegetarian lunch and freshly brewed tea were served in a private enclave overlooking rustic plantings with dramatically beautiful scenery. It was now time for my Sound Therapy session. Suspended in a hammock overlooking a garden I listen to music that was composed specifically to balance the brain. I was drifting away in a state of euphoria when I sensed someone sitting nearby. The practitioner patiently waited for me to notice her and introduce herself. I scheduled for a guided meditation session. Daidie guided me through my past, my present and my future. For me it was a cleansing of the spirit and soul. I experienced a shift within and felt light and happy.

One treatment I did not have a chance to experience was the Cedar Enzyme Bath. Osmosis is the only spa in the United States that offers this unique service which originates in Japan. The hot wood chip bath is used to treat arthritis, the immune system and other body systems. Definitely on my list for my next visit!

Most of us are living a high pressured, tightly scheduled and high-tech lifestyle. It is important to quiet the mind and body and take time to connect, not electronically but energetically, to the nurturing essence of Mother Nature.  Thank you Osmosis for a blissful day!

Debra Duneier is an accredited LEED® Green Associate, Certified Eco-Designer, Feng Shui Master Practitioner, Creator of EcoChi® and an award winning Author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Teeth

Dental care is an important part of supporting oral health care in children. Proper dental care helps to give children the foundations to developing healthy, strong teeth. Toddlers as early as 1 year old are ready to visit the dentist and get a basic cleaning, and from then on, parents have the responsibility to ensure that their children have dental checkups. Pediatric dentists recommend that children receive a dental check-up every six months to help prevent dental problems in the future. In addition to visiting the dentist periodically, many parents search for tips and resources on how to protect their children’s teeth.

Maintaining a balanced diet of foods in the five food groups and minimizing the consumption of candy, chips, sugary juices and soda drinks can go a long way in preventing cavities and tooth decay. Parents should always brush their children’s teeth in the morning and before bedtime with fluoride toothpaste. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, there are several strategies that parents can use to help promote healthy teeth in children, which can lead to healthy teeth in adulthood.

Studies show that cheese provides calcium and protein for the body to help support strong bones and healthy teeth. Recent studies have also shown that cheese protects the teeth from acid build-up and cavities by helping to clear away debris that causes bacteria and tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorous in cheese also help to replace lost minerals in teeth caused by acid. Some of the well-liked types of sliced cheese and cheese sticks that children love are Cheddar, Mozzarella and Swiss. They are great products to add with meals and for snacks.

Sippy cups are used to help toddlers transition from bottles to regular drinking cups. Many parents of toddlers allow their children to drink sugary drinks throughout the day. However, dental experts believe that toddlers who regularly drink sugary beverages from sippy cups are at risk for developing cavities and tooth decay at an early age. There has been increase over the years in cavities found in toddlers from ages 2 to 5 years old. Experts recommend that parents reduce the amount of sugary drinks in sippy cups, except during mealtime, and replace the drinks with water. This is a healthy tip to prevent dental decay as well as costly dental problems.

It’s beneficial to find a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentists, especially for toddlers and young children. When you take your toddler to the dentist for the first time, pediatric dentists are well trained in many techniques to help children remain comfortable and happy during the visit. Pediatric dentists are also experts at finding fun ways to help children overcome the fear of getting a dental checkup. There are helpful resources online to search for pediatric dentists in your area. Popular dentistry networks, such as Kool Smiles, provide a convenient way for parents to search online for pediatric dentists near specific cities and zip codes. These types of dentistry networks are well-known in cities around the country.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

fresh air: Purggo bamboo charcoal car air filter

purggo car air filter

Did grandma leave the unpleasant aromatic remains of her favorite discount perfume all over your car, did your cousin sneak a smoke in your backseat last week, did your lab, Rufus, take a dip in the local swamp and then decided to ride shotgun in your Subaru? If so, or you have issues with any of a thousand airborne scents, you might want to consider installing one of these all-natural, Purggo bamboo air purifiers in your ride. These eco-friendly air filters contain 100% all-natural bamboo charcoal and are German-engineered, patent-pending, and nicely designed.

purggo car air filter install

It’s a crazy fact that the FDA doesn’t regulate most of the ingredients that manufacturers put into air fresheners. Many popular brands of air fresheners put whatever chemicals they want inside their products – and many of those chemicals can be incredibly harmful to the human body. A recent independent study conducted on the popular air freshener Febreze by Environmental Working Group revealed up to 89 air contaminants in the product, yet the label on Febreze only listed 5 ingredients.

The Purggo filter avoids all manner of additives and chemicals and is designed to eliminate odors instead of just masking them. As air passes through the filter’s pores, odor particles are trapped on the surfaces inside, purifying the air in your car – simply and naturally. No funky fragrances, added VOCs or harmful chemicals – this little air purifier is allergen- free.

Other features:

  • It’s economical – Purggo works passively 24/7 and lasts more than 365 days.
  • The outer shell is made of renewable hemp fabric.
  • Sustainably designed – no plastic components.
  • No masking fragrance or chemical additives.
  • Made with renewable bamboo.
  • 100% asthma and allergy friendly
  • Safe for the kid’s, the pooch, or grandma to sit right next to.

Purggo air filter on car seat

The bamboo charcoal in Purggo is 4x more porous than regular charcoal and has been activated and carbonized between 1110°F – 1300°F (600°C – 700°C). This form of bamboo charcoal has been used for thousands of years in many Asian countries to purify both air and water.

If you don’t want to hang the purifier from your car’s headrest it will work just as well on the seat. You can even use it in a bathroom or bedroom for some passive air purification and odor removal.

Purggo is about to complete a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, but – if you pre-order a Purggo by December 15th – you can still get it for $29.95 Kickstarter discount price – just visit (official product roll-out is 12/15/14)

related: more health and beauty product reviews from The Alternative Consumer

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Gorgeous and Green: 3 Secret Eco-Friendly Beauty Tips

red lips

It’s not always easy being gorgeous and green.

When you’re busy helping look after the world, the flawlessness of your skin, perfection of your eyebrows and fullness of your lips tend to take a back seat.

Also, with the vast number of goods us eco-friendly beauty queens simply can’t use, it can be more than a little challenging finding the perfect product to mesh with our daily routine AND our beliefs.

Consequently, if you’re finding it extremely difficult to know where to begin, we’re here to talk you through some of the more environmentally friendly ways you can buff up your daily beauty routine.

Take Advantage of Mineral Foundation
More and more, people are beginning to understand the benefits of natural makeup and mineral foundation, which, unlike liquid foundation, uses a finely ground powder to help cover any blemishes, age spots and uneven skin.

Importantly, mineral foundation doesn’t contain any nasty oils, talc, dyes or perfume, meaning your skin will enjoy a perfect colour match and an instant soft-focus effect thanks to the light-reflecting minerals contained within.

Use Bars of Soap
This may not be popular, but by swapping your shower gel for bar soap, it’ll cut down on the need to use plastic bottles to contain your body wash. Of course you recycle, but in case it slips your mind, it’s best to stick to good, old fashioned soap.

To take it one step further with your eco-friendliness, make sure you only buy soap from companies who use recycled materials to package their product – but if not, try to do your bit for the environment by doing it for them.

Manufacture Your Own Products
Following on from the point above, when we consider the packaging cosmetics tend to be wrapped in, the impact on the environment is tangible. Additionally, the synthetic chemicals synonymous with some products can wreak havoc on sensitive skin.

Indeed, National Geographic’s Green Guide has revealed the average adult uses nine personal care products a day, with almost 120 chemicals combined. Nice. The solution? Make your own! Not only is it great fun (promise), you’ll know exactly what’s going into the product you make.

While this should be enough to get you started on the route a comprehensively eco-friendly beauty routine, it’s worthwhile conducting further research, which will allow you to systematically introduce other beautification techniques into the fray.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Eating Habits That Prevent Hair Loss

selfie man

The first sign of a poor diet when it comes to your appearance usually starts with your skin. In as little as one week of a bad diet, you may come up in spots as well as losing your usual vibrant colouring. Hair on the other hand can take a few months of a poor quality diet before you will start to notice a deficiency, although food isn’t the only thing playing a part in hair loss. Smoking and sleep deprivation are also key players when it comes to hair loss; another two areas which are also preventable. Sometimes, however, hair loss can be unavoidable, triggered by genetic and not lifestyle factors. Unfortunately in these instances costly surgery might be your only choice if you want to keep hold of your youthful looks and your flowing locks.

Consuming a balanced diet
Consuming a balanced and delicious diet may sound harder to maintain than it actually is. In order to follow a good diet to prevent hair loss, it is useful to know which foods provide the nutrients you need to sustain a healthy appearance.

Zinc is one of the key drivers in maintaining healthy hair follicles. When your body is low on zinc your hair follicles will become weak and may even fall out. Some foods which contain zinc consist of red meats, nuts, spinach and cocoa.

As hair is made up of protein it is understandable why it is needed for healthy hair growth. Lean proteins such as fish, eggs, chicken and yogurt should all be consumed in moderation.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A promotes the growth of cells and tissue which includes your hair and scalp. This vitamin is fed into our body through animal and plant sources. Vegetables such as carrots, dark leafy greens such as Rocket or Kale and animal produce such as fish oil, liver and eggs all contain the much needed vitamin.

Vitamin C
The human body cannot store large amounts of Vitamin C at any one time so trying to overload with an intake of the vitamin won’t be beneficial for hair growth. To regularly include Vitamin C within your diet, make sure you eat fruit and vegetables such as oranges, melons, peppers and tomatoes, all of which are rich in the vitamin.

We should all know by now that the recommended daily amount of water is at least 8 glasses a day. Hydration is one of the most important factors needed for healthy hair and good health in general. If you aren’t doing so already, make sure you get into the habit of drinking more water every day.

Start introducing these eating habits into your diet and see if you notice a difference in your appearance. Remember healthy hair isn’t as instant a result as healthier looking skin.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Can you hear me now? Choosing the right hearing aid

Have you been diagnosed with hearing loss? Hearing aids can restore significant amounts of your auditory function if you take the time to choose the right brand with the right calibrations. If you’re in the market for hearing aids, here are eight tips for finding the perfect model.

Aquavi hearing aid1. Determine Your Level of Hearing Loss
If it’s been awhile since your last trip to the audiologist, make an appointment to figure out how much your hearing loss has progressed, stalled or tapered off over the years. You’ll need an accurate and up-to-date assessment of your hearing in order to find the equipment that’s right for you.

2. Give Yourself a Price Range
Hearing aids can set you back anywhere from $300 to $3,000, so if you’re on a budget, it’s important that you don’t buy anything beyond your means. Keep in mind that the hearing aids themselves will only be part of your expenses; you’ll also be responsible for cleanings, fittings and overall upkeep.

3. Think About the Canal
Most hearing aids fall under one of two umbrellas: in the canal or outside the canal. Ones in the canal are custom designed for the shape of your ear, offering more comfort, better acoustics and less visibility to others. Ones outside the canal, however, have longer shelf lives and advanced features like volume control.

4. Choose a Style
Once you’ve decided where the hearing aid will sit on your ear, it’s time to decide which shell you prefer. Half shells are smaller and less obtrusive than full shells, but their battery power corresponds to their size, so full shells are better for severe hearing loss. On the other hand, full shells tend to pick up more wind and background noises, which can be a nuisance for the sensitive.

5. Pick a Brand
Choosing a brand for your hearing aids is almost as important as choosing the style itself. If you have problems with your model down the line or you’re looking for tips and tricks for sound amplification, the manufacturer will determine how to fix, adjust or optimize your hearing aids.

6. Check Their Credentials
Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for any complaints against your chosen brand. The good ones shouldn’t have any negative feedback at all. For example, if you choose hearing aids from Miracle Ear, you’ll see that the Miracle Ear BBB listing contains no consumer complaints.

7. Ask About Guarantees
Most hearing aid companies offer some kind of warranty for their products, but the length of these promises can vary depending on the brand. Others might be willing to give you a trial period for 1-3 months so you can familiarize yourself with the technology before making a final decision.

8. Splurge on the Extras
Hearing aids have progressed beyond little nubs that only transfer sound. The more advanced models come with everything from directional microphones to Bluetooth capabilities. If your bank account will allow it, think about investing in a pair of hearing aids that will give you all the comforts and conveniences of modern living.

These are just eight suggestions for finding the perfect hearing aids. With the right equipment, you can walk in the sunshine and enjoy the sound of birds chirping right in your ear.

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